Risk premium returns to oil over Iraq fighting, rising US-Iran tensions

Posted October 19, 2017

The ramp-up in imports comes as USA oil prices have dropped against Brent and Dubai DUB-1M-A, the benchmarks for Atlantic Basin and Middle East crude, making American oil attractive for Korean refiners. Oil prices have climbed following API inventory data, which revealed a 7.1 million barrel decline in USA crude inventories, versus expectations for a 4 million barrel draw.

USA crude rose 0.82 percent to $51.87 per barrel and Brent was last at $57.86, up 1.21 percent on the day.

Iraq is just one of the oil market's geopolitical risks, with uncertainty also growing over tensions between Iran and the U.S., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Tuesday.

US crude inventories fell 5.7 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, exceeding analysts' expectations. West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.7 percent to $52.24 per barrel.

The Iraqi forces entered Kirkuk after weeks of unrest in the region despite tensions that prevail between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The conflict can significantly impact crude supplies from the region, which host major oilfields.

In its monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) indicated that market rebalancing will continue amid forecasts that global oil demand will rise by around 30,000 barrels a day for this year and 2018.

More news: Twitter promises to get "more aggressive" in tackling online harassment
More news: Man Utd prepare £170m bid for Spurs star Harry Kane
More news: Isis 'White Widow' Sally Jones is killed by United States drone strike

Analysts said traders built fresh positions following crude oil prices jumping in Asian trade as data showed a drop in U.S. stockpiles.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry trade group, will release US weekly petroleum inventory data at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT), ahead of the government's report on Wednesday.

The euro slumped 0.2 percent to $1.1798, while the dollar index rose 0.16 percent as investors repositioned following disappointing inflation data on Friday that sent the greenback lower. "Collectively, OPEC countries lost more than $1 trillion". Bank of America Merrill Lynch said it was raising its oil price forecasts.

During the previous round of sanctions against Iran, about 1 million bbl/dd of oil was cut from global markets. The Persian Gulf nation said it would support an extension of OPEC output cuts to the end of 2018 and insisted its production plans won't be disrupted by U.S. President Donald Trump's disavowal of the nuclear deal that's boosted its exports.

"We see Brent averaging $54 this quarter and $52.50 per barrel in 1H18, compared with our previous forecasts of $50 and $49.50 per barrel respectively".